Stranded sperm whale dies along Puerto Rico coast

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Sponsored Stories Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates The sperm whale was first spotted early Saturday just off the coast near the town of Luquillo. She died about five hours later.Sperm whales inhabit the deep ocean near Puerto Rico from January through about August.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system LUQUILLO, Puerto Rico (AP) – A marine mammal expert in Puerto Rico says rescuers were unable to save a sperm whale about the size of a city bus that was stranded just off the island’s north coast.Marine biologist Antonio Mignucci of the Manatee Conservation Center at Puerto Rico’s Interamerican University says a necropsy is planned to determine what caused the death of the adult female. Mignucci says the whale weighs about 15,000 pounds and is 35 feet (10 meters) long. He estimates her age at between 20 and 40 years. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career pathscenter_img Top Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technologylast_img read more

Ethiopia dissident blogger sentenced to 18 years

first_imgADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) – Ethiopia’s federal court has sentenced a prominent dissident blogger to 18 years in prison.The court on Friday also handed the deputy leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice opposition party Andualem Arage a life sentence on terror charges.The journalist Eskinder Nega, who was known for his critical stance on Ethiopia’s government, received a prestigious press freedom award from PEN America in May. More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center The two were among 24 people found guilty on terror charges last month, though critics of the prosecution said the government was improperly labeling dissent as terrorism.Mohamed Keita of the Committee to Protect Journalists said the sentences make clear that Ethiopia’s growth and stability are dependent on an iron fist from leadership intolerant of critical reporting.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Sponsored Stories center_img 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Top holiday drink recipes Top Stories 0 Comments   Share   last_img read more

British PM in Gulf seeking to boost military ties

Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Cameron visited a trade fair in Dubai on Monday before heading for talks in Abu Dhabi. He plans meetings in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.It is Cameron’s second visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia as prime minister.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Sponsored Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – British Prime Minister David Cameron is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to expand military and trade links despite strained relations over probes into human rights issues.A main goal of Cameron’s trip to the two Gulf states is to push through deals for British Typhoon fighter jets.But both Gulf countries have complained about British and European Parliament statements on possible rights abuses, including the UAE’s crackdowns on an Islamist faction and the Saudi role in aiding Bahrain’s fight against an anti-government uprising. Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments   Share   read more

64 including Saudi Arabian woman scale Everest

first_img Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) – Mountaineering officials say 64 climbers, including a Saudi Arabian woman, have successfully scaled Mount Everest from Nepal’s side of the mountain.Tilak Padney of Nepal’s Mountaineering Department says 35 foreigners accompanied by 29 Nepalese Sherpa guides reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak on Saturday morning after climbing all night from the highest camp on South Col. Sponsored Stories All were reported to be safe.Among them was Raha Moharrak, who became the first Saudi Arabian woman to scale the world’s highest peak.Everest can be climbed from either Nepal or Tibet.May is the most popular month for Everest climbs because of more favorable weather.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Top Stories center_img Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Four benefits of having a wireless security system Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement 0 Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academieslast_img read more

In Yemen a womans life entangled with alQaida

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility For most of her young life, al-Hassani has been entangled with al-Qaida through family bonds she has tried to shake off. Three of her brothers became fighters for the group, and all three are now dead, two of them killed by U.S drone strikes on consecutive days in January 2013.Her story provides a rare look into one of the most dangerous branches of the terror network, which has withstood successive blows and yet continues to thrive. It has moved to fueling conflict elsewhere in the region, sending fighters and expertise to Syria and to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.Her ex-husband, Omar al-Hebishi, backed up his recruiting with cash. During their four-year marriage, she says, he received large bank transfers or cash delivered overland from Saudi Arabia _ money, he told her, that was to support the families of “martyrs.” She and al-Hebishi divorced in 2010.A month ago, he left for Syria to fight alongside al-Qaida-inspired extremists _ but not before trying to recruit the older of their two sons, 8-year-old Aws, to come with him by showing the boy videos of al-Qaida fighters jogging and swimming.“Mom, I want to go because they have a swimming pool,” Aws told her, al-Hassani said. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement She was there for two days, and most of it she spent arguing with her brother. Abdullah tried to recruit her, offering her fellow fighters to marry so she could become a “mujaheda,” meaning she would cook and clean for the fighters. She argued back that al-Qaida defames Islam, that its fighters cut off the hands of thieves and execute people without really knowing if they are guilty.Abdullah tried to convince her of the beauty of jihad. He told her fighters smile when they die, knowing they are entering paradise _ militant videos and photos often show the corpses of martyrs with blissful smiles on their face.“I just get depressed when I see their videos,” Abeer said.It was their first meeting in three years _ but it was a cold one. Abdullah scolded her for not wearing gloves and for not covering her eyes with a mesh.“Every time I tried to give him a big hug, he would move away,” she said. “It was like he disapproved of me and what I stood for.”Less than a week after they returned to Sanaa, Abdullah was killed in fighting with security forces.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Al-Saggaf said al-Qaida is on the ropes, in large part due to the drone strikes. He said sympathy for the group has fallen, particularly after the December attack, during which fighters broke into a hospital inside the Defense Ministry complex and killed patients, doctors and nurses. Hadi ordered security camera footage of the bloodshed released to the public, a move al-Saggaf said “dealt the image of al-Qaida a serious blow.”But al-Hassani’s tale illustrates the pull that al-Qaida has in a society where poverty is rife, the population is deeply conservative and many resent a corrupt government and abuses by security forces.“I can guarantee you that my two sons, Aws and Hamza, will follow in the footsteps of their father if we stay in Yemen,” al-Hassani said. “We need to get out of Yemen.”Diminutive and soft-spoken, wearing an enveloping black niqab veil and robes that leave only her large dark eyes visible, al-Hassani has lived under the full weight of Yemen’s patriarchal society. She was first married off at the age of 15, but she kept running away from her husband, so they divorced after only a month.Soon after, her older brother Bandar brought home a new husband for her _ al-Hebishi, a man 20 years her senior. Four benefits of having a wireless security system Arizona families, Arizona farms: A legacy of tradition embracing animal care and comfort through modern technology Al-Hebishi, known by his nom de guerre Abu Osayed al-Madani, is renowned in extremist circles as a “munshid,” or singer of Islamic hymns and anthems. His voice is often heard singing in al-Qaida propaganda videos showing footage from their attacks and of martyrs. The Yemeni security officials confirmed to AP that he works in the media branch of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.A veteran jihadi who fought in Bosnia in the 1990s, he was a secretive man who didn’t like having his picture taken, al-Hassani said. She showed one of the few photos she has of him _ their wedding picture, where he stands grim-faced. “He was unhappy my mother was photographing him,” she said.“He was so courteous and convincing when he spoke to teenagers he wanted to recruit,” said al-Hassani. In one case, she said, he used the money he received to buy a car and house for a Yemeni who lost both his legs while fighting alongside miltiants in Iraq, she said.At home, she said, he was abusive, striking her and the children. After their divorce, her brothers forced her at one point to hand custody of their sons to al-Hebishi. During the time they were with him, al-Hebishi told her he burned matches on their younger son, Hamza, as part of his toilet training, al-Hassani said, showing photos of her son with the burns. She said she received word two weeks ago that her ex-husband was now in Syria.In recent weeks, militant supporters have proclaimed in messages on Twitter and on militant websites that “the munshid Abu Osayed al-Madani” has come to Syria and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, one of the most hardline groups fighting in that country’s civil war. Al-Qaida’s central command broke off ties with the Islamic State in February, blaming it for increasing infighting with other militants.A Twitter account in the name of Abu Osayed al-Madani, apparently belonging to her ex-husband, is full of tweets from Syria about the conflict. Among them are appeals for reconciliation between al-Qaida and the Islamic State.During and after her marriage, al-Hassani watched helplessly as her three brothers, Bandar, Abdullah and Abdel-Meguid, were drawn one by one into al-Qaida.Bandar, seven years older than al-Hassani, was detained by the Political Security Agency for two years. When he emerged in 2006 he had become more religious _ indoctrinated by militants he was jailed with, al-Hassani says. For the next years, he associated with al-Qaida members, while security agents harassed him, trying to turn him into an informant. Top Stories center_img New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In 2009, Abdel-Meguid, who was 16 at the time, was also arrested. He was held for three years, often in a cell with hardened militant fighters.At about the same time, Abdullah _ who was two years younger than al-Hassani, disappeared from home to join al-Qaida.When the popular uprising against Saleh began in 2011, Bandar left home for the mountainous central province of Marib to join al-Qaida fighters, she said.The following year, Abdel-Meguid was released from prison. The younger brother who loved dancing as a teen was now bitter.“He only spoke about how much he wanted to blow himself up in the middle of Yemeni soldiers,” al-Hassani said.She pleaded with him to stay at home, but after three days, Abdel-Meguid left to Marib to join his brother. From there, he went to the nearby province of al-Jawf for training in al-Qaida camps, al-Hassani said.Bandar was killed by a drone strike in Marib on Jan. 20, 2013. The next day, a strike in al-Jawf killed Abdel-Meguid. Security officials confirmed the circumstances of their deaths to the AP.Al-Hassani saw her brother Abdullah once before his death, in 2012.She and her mother drove 19 hours to visit him in a village near al-Jaar, one of the southern cities that al-Qaida took over. Abdullah was there helping treat wounded fighters. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemen branch is known, has been hit hard in the past few years. A U.S.-backed government offensive in 2012 drove it out of southern cities that it seized a year earlier. Relentless U.S. drone strikes have killed several senior figures and dozens of lower-level fighters, keeping the group on the run.Still, several Yemeni security officials said al-Qaida has spread to operate in every province of the country of more than 25 million. Al-Qaida’s branch demonstrated its capabilities with a sophisticated and brutal attack in December on the Defense Ministry in the capital, Sanaa, that killed more than 50 people.The group benefits from Yemen’s political instability since the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh. While his replacement Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is battling the group, Saleh’s loyalists still infusing security and intelligence agencies have quietly backed al-Qaida fighters to keep the government unstable, the officials told the AP. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the press.“The former regime forged a close relationship with al-Qaida,” said Fares al-Saggaf, an adviser to Hadi. In the southern province of Abyan “entire army camps have been handed over to al-Qaida.” 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Abeer al-Hassani’s ex-husband was famed for his beautiful voice. He used it, she says, singing poetic hymns to martyrdom and jihad to try to draw youth from their neighborhood of the Yemeni capital into joining al-Qaida. He sang at weddings of fellow members of the terror group, and held discussions with young men at local mosques.“One woman complained to me that her son wanted to go fight in Iraq after speaking with him,” the 25-year-old al-Hassani recalled in an interview with The Associated Press. Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Report Satellite photos may show missing Malaysian Air flight

first_img Top Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober According to CNN, the images were captured Sunday but were not released until Wednesday.China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced the discovery, including images of what it said were “three suspected floating objects and their sizes.”The flight has been missing since Saturday, when it disappeared from radar after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. PHOENIX — A satellite may have found a missing Malaysian Air flight.The photo first emerged on Twitter about 1:40 p.m. Arizona time on Wednesday. It purportedly shows the plane in the South China Sea.#MH370 Chinese satellite images released— Badladsplace (@badladsplace) March 12, 2014 Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Authorities had earlier said the plane, which took off at 12:20 a.m. and was headed to Beijing, may have attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur, but they expressed surprise that it would do so without informing ground control.The search for the plane was initially focused on waters between the eastern coast of Malaysia and Vietnam, the position where aviation authorities last tracked it. No trace of the plane, which was carrying 239 people, has been found by than 40 planes and ships from at least 10 nations searching the area.Earlier Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that search and rescue teams had expanded their scope to the Malacca Strait. An earlier statement said the western coast of Malaysia was “now the focus,” but the airline subsequently said that phrase was an oversight. It didn’t elaborate. Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the search remained “on both sides” of the country. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Comments   Share   4 sleep positions for men and what they meanlast_img read more

Pandora opens up podcast submissions to all creators

first_imgThe battle for podcasters among music streaming services continues. A day after Spotify announced the launch of its podcast analytics dashboard, Pandora is today expanding its own podcasting efforts with the arrival of a self-service online hub for creators. The new Pandora for Podcasters will allow creators to submit their shows for inclusion on the streaming service, where they can be discovered through Pandora’s show and episode-level recommendation system.Pandora’s entry into the podcast market began late last year, when it brought its “Genome” technology to podcast recommendations. Similar to how Pandora’s Music Genome is capable of classifying songs across hundreds of different attributes, the new Podcast Genome Project does the same for audio programs.The system uses more than 1,500 attributes — like MPAA ratings, production style, content type, host profile and more, as well as listener signals, like thumbs, skips, replays and more — combined with machine learning algorithms, natural language processing and collaborative filtering methods to help determine user preferences.An additional layer of human curation is also involved in making the final recommendations.The result is a system that is able to suggest not just shows a listener may like, but also individual episodes, based on their likes, dislikes and other insights gained from their listening history.When podcasts launched on Pandora in December 2018, the service offered hundreds of shows and more than 100,000 episodes. There are now thousands of shows and over 500,000 episodes, the company claims.Pandora parent SiriusXM has also played a role in expanding the streamer’s podcast offerings by bringing dozens of SiriusXM talk shows to Pandora as podcasts, and leveraging SiriusXM’s guests to narrate for Pandora’s music-and-audio product called Pandora Stories.Now, podcast creators both large and small will be able to submit their own shows for inclusion in Pandora’s catalog. To do so, they’ll submit their show’s RSS feed URL to Pandora directly and answer a few questions about the podcast.Based on a test from TechCrunch editor (and podcaster) Brian Heater, Pandora asked for download numbers, social media links, and provided a time frame of 4-6 weeks for processing.If approved, the show will be available to Pandora’s 65 million monthly active listeners and their future episodes will be added automatically.This self-serve hub’s launch follows a similar move by Spotify nearly a year ago, when it opened up podcast submissions to all creators. Today, Spotify’s pitch to podcasters is to submit their shows in exchange for robust listener data. The company says it now has more than 450,000 shows on its platform, with around 100,000 signing up for inclusion through its own self-submission process.Interested podcast creators can now submit their shows to Pandora here after first registering for a Pandora account.last_img read more

Extra green fingers for local farmer

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Hisler is well-known in the community for his large brinjals. He says that, “I plant the seeds, give them lots of water, always fertilize the soil, and they grow!” He says that his brinjals grow within three to four days. They also farm butternut, tomatoes, mealies and green beans, to name just a few. Now 63 years old, Hisler has been a farmer ever since he was a young boy. He explains that his mother and father were farmers in Mpumalanga at Bush Park Ridge, and so farming is in his blood. “I won’t ever stop!” Hisler, Mshiyeni and Shorty are subsistence farmers, but they dream of becoming commercial farmers one day. They just need the support to help them along the way. They sell their produce at low prices on the streets and also to businesses. Hisler Mogane is a local farmer who is doing wonders with what little he has. Together with partners Mshiyeni Khumalo and Yandiswa ‘Shorty’ Marimbela, he has been farming at Matthew’s Farm from 2005 up until present day. There, they have turned a cattle sales yard into lovely vegetable gardens. They are truly adept at cultivating the biggest, juiciest vegetables around. When people ask what their secret is, the usual answer is that, “We have extra green fingers!” Just look at the brinjals (eggplant) they pull out of the ground and you’ll know what a treat you’re in for! Battling a lack of funds and water irrigation woes, the latter being their main problem, they soldier on admirably with seeds, fertilizer and ploughing equipment they get from the municipality. last_img read more

Endless sewer problems faced by Colenso resident

first_imgRaw effluent flows out his kitchen door, bathroom and toilet. The toilet can’t be flushed, as sewage flows out of it, and the bath has to be plugged with a stopper and a stone so that sewer water doesn’t rise up into the bathtub. Some days he and his family can’t bath, instead using a bucket filled with water. The smell is so bad that they can’t even use the kitchen to cook, and the flies are at their worst now. Fanile has sores on his arms due to mosquito bites, as these insects breed in the sewage. Over the December period, Fanile was scared to tell relatives to come over and visit him, as the stench is so bad. His sister’s children couldn’t even play outside, as the situation poses a health hazard. He claims that the family members who did visit didn’t stay long because they couldn’t stand the smell. Fanile has to empty the drain pipes that are full of sewer water every morning and afternoon, using his bare hands and a bucket. He doesn’t have protective equipment, and feels this constitutes a very real health risk. Fanile needs this problem to be fixed pronto and asks how much longer he must wait, as “I am paying my rates!” WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Fanile Mkhize of 3 Hughes Road in Colenso has been living with endless sewer problems since October last year due to sewerage pumps that have not been fixed. Fanile says he has made numerous calls to the uThukela call centre and offices since the time the problem started, right up until now, with no joy. When he gets through to someone at uThukela, they say they are sending workers out to fix the problem, but this hasn’t happened. Fanile’s house is at the corner of the road, which means that when the blockage is at its worst, all the sewage in the area goes into his house. last_img read more

Storm causes power outages

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Residents in and around Ladysmith are up-in-arms because they don’t have electricity today (December 9), and it’s not because of load-shedding. Last night’s heavy rain and flash flooding caused damage to electricity transformers around town, and technicians are out and about today in an attempt to locate and fix all the problems. For this reason, people will find that their power might go off as electricians work on these problems.Some areas in Acaciavale were left without electricity last night after the load-shedding. The power did eventually come back on, as technicians managed to fix the problem.Affected areas included Acaciavale, Circle Road and Steadville.Municipal technicians are currently in the process of fixing the power supply in these areas.Be aware that certain areas will have no power due to these repairs.last_img read more

Kidnap attempt foiled by alert mall security

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Fearing the worst, the women ran towards the Murchison Mall and much to their relief, they spotted a security guard bringing the little girl towards them.He had realised something was wrong, as the little girl was screaming at the top of her lungs for help. The security guard heard the screams and went to the girl’s rescue. The African woman let the kid go and made a run for it, disappearing into the crowd. The security guard saw that the girl had been abandoned at the pedestrian crossing robots leading across to the Murchison Mall.The family and the little girl are traumatised by the incident.The name of the girl and the family are known to the Ladysmith Gazette.Social media sites are abuzz with warning messages. A woman attempted to kidnap a child in broad daylight at a Ladysmith shopping mall yesterday afternoon (Monday, November 17).A Muslim mother and her 4-year-old daughter were shopping in the Oval, accompanied by a close friend of the mother. They were looking at clothing… and in what they describe as a blink of an eye, the 4-year-old girl was gone.Thinking the child was playing hide and seek, they searched the shop. However, when they realised that the little girl was not in the shop, they both ran out of the shop, screaming the little girl’s name.Other shoppers told them they had seen an African woman running towards the Murchison Mall with a screaming Indian child.last_img read more

Vehicle plunges down embankment

first_imgA vehicle crashed down an embankment in Roosboom this evening (Saturday, November 15) after the driver allegedly lost control.Emergency personnel are still on scene. No injuries were sustained. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsitelast_img

Estcourt Winterton pummelled by severe storm

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite KZN EMS paramedics, trying to get to the small house in pitch-darkness (a power failure affected a large area), were not able to reach the scene, as the iron roof from a nearby house had been blown off and was lying on the road. The strong winds had also blown the electricity poles down and there were live cables lying on the road.The local councillor and neighbours assisted the family and brought them to the ambulance. The paramedics treated the five for various traumatic injuries before transporting them to Estcourt Hospital.There was also a report of another house apparently being struck by lightning and also burning down in the Rensberg area. The people in this house were transported privately to hospital. A 16-year-old girl was treated for injuries after being picked up by paramedics from a clinic in Loskop. As to exactly how the girl was injured is still uncertain, but it is believed to be storm-related.Damages included power lines being blown down and destruction to buildings, the extent of which is still being assessed by officials.Information supplied by Robert Mckenzie, Media Liaison Officer: Emergency Medical Services KZN EMS paramedics and emergency officials responded to several areas in the Estcourt and Winterton area – including Phangweni, Rensberg and Loskop – which had been lashed by a severe thunderstorm on Saturday evening.The extent of the destruction was initially unknown, as most of the damage took place in semi-rural areas.Several people were injured in the storm and buildings were damaged. In the Phangweni area, lightning struck a thatched roof house. A woman and four children in the house were severely injured from a combination of the lightning striking the house, debris falling from the roof and the ensuing fire which completely gutted the small house.last_img read more

Qantas prepares for engineer strike

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Qantas’ licensed engineers will walk off the job on Friday, after the group’s union announced industrial action against the carrier yesterday. The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) released a statement to its members stating that the company and the carrier could not reach a “suitable outcome” and the union would administer its “right to carry out Protected Industrial Action”. Hoping to minimise disruption to its passengers, Qantas said it is preparing to put its contingency plan into place during the strike, which is set to take place on 13 May between 8.00 am to 9.00 am. “The union clearly seems more intent on taking industrial action rather than genuinely negotiating for a new enterprise bargaining agreement for its members,” Qantas Group executive of operations Lyell Strambi said.  “Qantas has negotiated in good faith since September last year and exhausted all avenues possible however we have been unable to make any real progress with the union on an agreement.”  Mr Strambi described the union’s actions as an “attack” against the carrier, particularly because the engineers’ group cancelled a full day of talks with Fair Work Australia that was set to take place today. According to Qantas, ALAEA has demanded the carrier replace its engineers’ pay according to skill with pay rise on a yearly basis as well as guaranteed staff travel, even if it means displacing paying passengers.“The cost of the union’s claim is 28.6 per cent over three years, with further increased costs being incurred in subsequent years bringing the real cost to above 36 per cent,” Mr Strambi said.  “We cannot accept union demands for a veto on change which would damage Qantas, restrict our business and jeopardise the jobs of their members and all other Qantas employees. “We are willing to negotiate on reasonable pay and conditions but we will not give in to their demands which remove flexibility the airline needs to respond to changing operating conditions.” The two groups have scheduled a meeting with Fair Work Australia on 11 May this year. “We remain available for direct talks with the union at anytime,” Mr Stramdi concluded.last_img read more

Study Sometimes theres no substitute for a travel agent

first_imgAustralians prefer agents over the net to gather information. More Australian travellers are choosing travel agents in favour of the internet when it comes to gathering information for their international getaway, according to new data.Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey revealed, 37 percent of Australians taking an overseas holiday used a travel agent to help them choose their destination last year, ahead of the 34 percent using the internet.Although agent popularity when it comes to planning an overseas trip has slipped since October 2010, when it was at its peak of 40 percent, it remains higher than the 11 percent in March 2011.Roy Morgan international director of tourism, travel and leisure Janie Ianniello said travel agents are still “the most popular source of information” when it comes to deciding an international destination.“Although fewer Australians are seeking the expert advice of travel agents when planning their overseas holiday itinerary the majority end up booking with a travel agent, either online, in person or by phone,” she said.“However, with the increasing penetration of home computers and iPhones, the trend towards using the internet to research and book overseas holidays directly is likely to continue.“It is important for travel agents and airlines to understand the demographics, attitudes and behavioural profile of their target market, so as to tailor appropriate messages that get them visiting their websites and retail outlets.”Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.last_img read more

Helloworld announces resignation of Elizabeth Gaines

first_imgHelloworld announces resignation of Elizabeth GainesHelloworld Limited today announced that the Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, has provided notice of her intention to leave HLO.Ms Gaines will continue in her role as Chief Executive Officer during the term of her six-month notice period, until such time as the Board has appointed a successor and there has been a smooth and orderly transition of responsibilities.HLO Chairman, Brett Johnson, commented that “while we are disappointed, my Board colleagues and I respect Elizabeth’s decision to depart after more than seven years of dedicated service and would like to thank Elizabeth for her significant contribution to the Helloworld Group during that time. Elizabeth has successfully led the Company through a period of major transition and has established a strong foundation for the on-going growth and success of the business and our member agents.”“The Board will commence a search process for Elizabeth’s replacement to lead Helloworld through the next phase of growth. Elizabeth will continue in her role until such time as her successor is appointed. Elizabeth’s substantial contribution and intellect will be missed and we wish her all the very best for her future endeavours.”Ms Gaines said the Company had made substantial progress in a highly competitive environment, with the many achievements positioning Helloworld and its member agents for success.“With Helloworld firmly entrenched as a substantial force in the travel sector in Australia and New Zealand, I have decided now is the appropriate time for a change in leadership for our Company and for me to pursue other opportunities.  As a result, I have notified the Board of my intention to step down as CEO of Helloworld Limited.”“Helloworld is now a business significantly transformed, with a highly capable management team and an unparalleled network of travel professionals. These solid foundations are evidenced by the success of the helloworld brand launch and the creation of our Australia-wide network, comprising almost 1,500 high-calibre, high performing corporate and leisure travel businesses. The appointment of QBT as the sole provider of travel management services for the Whole of Australian Government represents another key milestone in the Company’s successful transformation. ”“A strong culture of innovation and commitment to creating the future of travel with every journey is now embedded in our member agents and in our Company.”“It has been a tremendous honour to work with the industry’s best and I will leave confident in the next stage in the evolution of Helloworld.” HelloworldSource = Helloworld Limitedlast_img read more

International visitors spend 8 billion in NSW

first_imgInternational visitors to NSW spent more than AUD$8 billion during the last 12 months, an increase of 15 per cent compared to last year, with a significant jump in visitors from China.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the new data released today is a fantastic result for the State and shows NSW remains Australia’s most popular destination.“For the first time international visitors spent more than AUD$8 billion in NSW, providing a boost to the economy as tourists attended major events and visited the best tourism attractions in Sydney and across the Regions,” Mr Ayres said.“Once again NSW has been confirmed as Australia’s most popular destination, with more than 3.3 million international visitors spending time in our great State, up a massive six per cent compared to last year.“Victoria (2.3 million visitors) and Queensland (2.2 million) are miles behind, and we continue to show that our Government has the expertise to ensure NSW remains number one.”International visitors also stayed 82.4 million nights in NSW, a rise of nine per cent compared to a year ago, according to the International Visitor Survey released by Tourism Research Australia.There was significant growth in the number of visitors from China (up 21 per cent) and for the first time China visitor expenditure in NSW exceeded $2 billion for the year ($2.2 billion).  China remains the top market for international visitors to NSW with 536,000 visitors followed by New Zealand, USA and the UK.Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said there had been a number of world-class events that have attracted visitors from around the globe.“These quality events secured and supported by Destination NSW include Matilda The Musical, the Netball World Cup, the 2015 Bledisloe Cup test match, Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour and the 2015 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.” Destination NSWSource = Destination NSWlast_img read more

Book Thailand with roomsXML for Free Massage Vouchers

first_imgIn conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand, roomsXML is helping to make a Thai Trip even more relaxing by offering a 60 minute massage voucher with every booking made  between now and Dec 31* in the following cities:Bangkok –  8 locationsChiang Mai – 2 locationsPhuket – 2 locationsPattaya – 1 locationSamui – 1 locationHua Hin – 1 locationKrabi – 1 locationAs soon as you make a Thai booking,email at or Freecall 1800-766-679 to receive your voucherTerms & Conditions* Voucher is valid until 31st March 2017 for 1 hour Traditional Thai Massage or for 1 hour Foot Massage at all “Lets Relax” branchesVoucher may not be used in conjunction with other promotionsNon-Exchangeable, non-transferable and not redeemable for cashPlease reserve a space in advance for your convenienceKindly present this voucher upon arrival Book Thailand with roomsXML for Free Massage Vouchers roomsXML.comconnect today roomsXML.comdiscover more here Amazing ThailandSource = roomsXML.comlast_img read more

ANA Brings Innovation to Kyushu Saga International Airport

first_imgANA Brings Innovation to Kyushu Saga International AirportANA Brings Innovation to Kyushu Saga International Airport All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest and 5-star airline for six consecutive years, is partnering with Saga prefecture to transform Kyushu Saga International Airport (hereinafter referred to as Saga Airport) into one of the world’s smartest, best-connected airports. The move will make Saga Airport a proving ground for the latest connected technologies, turning it into a hotbed of innovation and a premier logistics hub in the region.Saga Prefecture and ANA will collaborate to modernize Saga Airport in response to changes across the aviation industry. The modernization drive aims to make Saga Airport a model airport that serves as a platform to showcase labor-saving technological innovation on the world stage. As a prominent testing ground, Saga Airport will collect data on the effectiveness of new technology featured at the site, acting as a template for future “Simple & Smart” airports.“We seek to innovate and reimagine how the travel experience can be improved by harnessing the potential of technological innovation,” said Shinzo Shimizu, Senior Executive Vice President of ANA. “The on-the-ground tests that ANA will be conducting at Saga Airport will lead to important breakthroughs that streamline and improve service on the ground. This will allow us to complement our exceptional in-flight service with a similar level of logistical support.”“We aim to set the standard for modernization at Kyushu Saga International Airport through our partnership with ANA,” said Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Governor of Saga Prefecture. “Saga has a history of innovation, serving as the base of Japan’s industrial revolution, and has leveraged its creativity to build a strong legacy of global leadership in manufacturing. I hope to continue building on these achievements and making Saga a transmission point for the fourth industrial revolution: AI and IoT.”New technology to be featured in the first round of trials at Saga Airport includes a wearable robotic exoskeleton, remote-controlled aircraft pushbacks, automatic baggage loaders and automated towing tractors. The robotic exoskeletons for heavy duty loaders entered service in February, while the first autonomous towing tractors are set to roll out between late March and early April. The latest pushbacks will start the trial in mid-April, with the automated baggage loaders being the last of the first batch to undergo testing sometime in the FY 2019.Officials at Saga Airport and ANA will monitor the performance of these devices closely, using the data gained from these trials to improve efficiency across the airport. This information will also be instrumental in the implementation of other innovations at Saga Airport in the future. Source = All Nippon Airwayslast_img read more

Boogying the night away at Lafta dinner and dance

first_imgThe Ladysmith Association for the Aged (Lafta) held a dinner and dance last night (Saturday) at the Civic Hall.Young and old alike turned up in numbers to enjoy the night.The tables were beautifully laid out for the guests to enjoy a delicious meal and drinks. The band ‘Men in Black’ was there to entertain the crowd with golden oldies as well as the latest, popular songs.Lucky draws also formed part of the evening’s entertainment, with lovely prizes to be won.Guest speakers took the stage, including Lafta president Mr Naidoo, who thanked everyone for their attendance.After the scrumptious dinner, the band revved up the tempo and everyone danced the night away.The aim of the event was to raise funds for the new Lafta premises. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsitelast_img read more